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Like many a wild man, the M249 had something of a troubled youth. “Although found to be reliable and accurate, the M249 was considered to present unacceptable hazards in the form of an exposed hot barrel and sharp edges,” Wikipedia reports. “There were also complaints that the front sight required special adjustment tools. On August 23, 1985, Undersecretary of the U.S. Army James R. Ambrose suspended M249 production pending the development of the product improvement program (PIP) intended to fix these problems. Congress deleted funds for the M249 from the Fiscal Year 1986 defense budget, then retroactively set aside the program’s prior year’s funds from the M249 program for other purposes, including retirement and pay raises . . .

Over 1,100 M249s already issued were to remain in use, but be retrofitted with the PIP kit when it became available. Over 7,000 remaining M249s were to stay in storage at depots until corrective changes could be made. The PIP kit was eventually developed and implemented, and production of the M249 resumed. In 1994 the M249 squad automatic weapon was re-designated the M249 light machine gun.”

Suppressive fire? Absolutely. Knock ’em dead. Wrong caliber. Just sayin’ . . .

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  1. The SAW is a blast to shoot and a solid weapon. However, like any 5.56 full auto animal, you need to be careful regarding barrel heat during prolonged firing.

  2. I’ve got two words for ole boy, trigger control. He complained the rifle was heavy at the end, well carrying enough ammo to burn through like he was is even heavier. I still like the M60 though.

  3. “Knock ‘em dead. Wrong caliber.”

    Anybody who thinks that the 5.56 is weak has never seen a human body that’s been stitched up the middle by one in burst or auto mode. The devastation is almost beyond human comprehension.

  4. At close range yes. But at longer ranges it has not proven itself, issues in ‘stan about charlies not going down after multiple hits, not penetrating barriers as well as other calibers, past a certain range almost useless… Everyone forgets or does not know that this is actually a modified varmint cartridge that was created in ’64(yes, almost a half-century ago). You know, varmint as in coyotes and such, not big game like deer(though capable of) and others.

  5. “I wonder if any of those made it to the civvie market before the ’86 ban.”

    IIRC there is at least one, I was offered the chance to rent one while in Las Vegas. Do not remember the name of the gun store/range, they offered full auto weapons for rent for tourists.


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